|The DNI Journal|
|Diversity Network Institute 701 South Dobson Road Suite 333 (480) 649-2929|
MulticulturalismA Paradigm Shift
by Paul D. Christiansen, Ph.D.
|The challenge of moving from a mono, bi or
polycultural workplace or classroom to a multicultural
one can be successfully accomplished on a limited budget.
Among the major keys for implementing multiculturalism
lies in understanding what the term multiculturalism
should mean. Multiculturalism is not the same as
polyculturalism. It is far more than meaning many or
being inclusive of all cultures. The Diversity Network
Institute presents multiculturalism as a paradigm shift
from the traditional view that multi means many and thus
includes all people and cultures. Multiculturalism is
viewed as a belief system that values people as
individuals rather than as members of specific groups
with an identifiable label. Multicultural is an adjective
that describes the behaviors of a multicultural
individual and multiculture is the environment or the
background of a multicultural individual.
||Once the need for this paradigm shift is
recognized and accepted, then the second phase would be
to develop a strategic plan that contains a mission
statement that honors multiculturalism. This mission
statement then needs to be placed into action by
formulating various policies such as; disavowing
discrimination based on external characteristics, that
cultural diversity is enriching and vital to individuals
and society and that all people can learn.
Multiculturalism then serves as a foundational strategy
for the development of multicultural staff development
programs and curricula by using such resources as the
Learning to Live without Labels seminar that will assist
in establishing a multicultureworking and learning
When the majority of staff members is focused on the same goals and has the same mental picture of a multicultural working and learning environment, the paradigm for multiculturalism can shift more rapidly.
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